Simply, training should begin before the pup is even born. Yes, I know, a trick answer. But truly, if you want a solid protector, your dog’s parents should have the character traits you desire your dog to have. Genetics are a powerful influence on the final product of the dog! Start wrong and you’re in for a lot of frustration. Choose a dog that has the genetic make-up to do the work you desire and you’ve crossed the first hurdle on your way to success.
Assuming you have a dog with the genetic background to do the work, protection training should begin around 8 weeks of age. Certainly, this is rather infantile work at this age but begin! Begin early. Prey development will be a necessity. The pup needs to learn that prey work is fun and that there is reward for the behavior you desire.
Postpone defense work until the pup is emotionally mature enough to handle it. Too much pressure done too early will shut down a dog. Also postpone obedience work until the pup’s drives have been brought up to a sufficient level. Most obedience training will tend to suppress the drives needed to do serious protection work. Our other Blog articles will help explain this.
Assuming that the prey development has been done sufficiently and correctly, formal protection training can begin around 10 months of age or so, depending upon the dog. This is when the bite-work progresses. His targeting is improved. Shaping the behavior and increasing the drives take on more meaning. He progresses through the different sleeves available for training. Defense work can be gradually increased and correctly rewarded. Various scenarios that the dog is expected to face in real life can be reenacted. Skills are honed.
Conifer Canine offers training options to facilitate the puppy training and on to the finished product. See the Protection Dog page of our website for more details.